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Walter Ferdinand Bauer
Mar 21, 1924 – Feb 19, 2015 (Age 90)
Walter F. Bauer, Ph. D, passed February 19, 2015 while resting peacefully at his home, after a brief fight with heart disease and kidney failure. Born in Wyandotte, Michigan, he was educated in local public schools and the University of Michigan. At University of Michigan he met his lovely wife, Donna and ultimately they married in 1949. With his young family, he moved to California in 1954 and had resided there since. He began his secondary education at the University of Michigan in 1941 and after two years volunteered for the United States Air Force. He was commissioned a 2nd Lt. Weather Officer and service for three years in various locations in the U.S. during World War II. Walter returned to the University of Michigan after the war to continue his studies in Physics and Mathematics. In 1950 he received the Ph. D. degree from the University in Mathematics. His post-doctoral work at the University consisted of research activities in electronic computers applied to nation defense projects. In 1954 he accepted a position with the Ramo-Wooldridge Corporation's Space Technology Laboratories in Los Angeles, which, in the Sputnik era, had technical and management responsibility for the Ballistic Missile Program. He became that company's first high speed electronic computer expert, developed a computer organization of approximately 300 people and used the earliest computers from Univac and IBM. In 1959, Dr. Bauer moved to the Ramo-Wooldridge Division of the TRW Corporation where he became Manager of the Information Systems Division Department. He supervised technical activities the company was engaged in with the Department of Defense. In the 50s there were few experts in the new field of high-speed electronic digital computers. Dr. Bauer was a pioneer in the development and use of these devices and was a frequent speaker and lecturer at universities and technical organizations throughout the United States. In 1950, when he began using these computers at the University of Michigan, there were only four operating in the entire country. He traveled to Washington D.C. during this period to use the SEAC computer at the National Bureau of Standards, one of just four. Becoming increasingly interested in management and business development of computer software activities, in 1962 Dr. Bauer founded Informatics, Inc., later to be called Informatics General Corporation. Informatics grew to have 2500 employees in 1985 and was at that time the fourth largest software company in the country and the world. Informatics was the third software company to became publicly owned and second such company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. In 1985 he was the CEO-Founder in the software business with the longest tenure, having been Chairman/CEO for a period of 23 years. In 1985, the Company was acquired by Sterling Software Corporation after a widely publicized take-over battle. Subsequently, Dr. Bauer became a consultant, a professional board of directors' person and for four years was Chairman/CEO of Delphi Information Systems headquartered in Westlake Village. Active in many professional and charitable organizations, Dr. Bauer served as the founding Chairman of the Southern California Executives Network (SoCal TEN), an organization of approximately 170 CEOs. He served on the Board of Directors of the United Way Region I (San Fernando Valley), and was the 1986 Campaign Chairman for that region. Also, in 1985 he received the "Spirit of Life" award from the City of Hope. He also served as a Trustee for the LA Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society. During the period from 1959 to 1964, Dr. Bauer acted in national capacities with the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the American Federation of Information Processing Societies (AFIPS). In 1983 he was Chairman of the Charles Babbage Foundation, an organization dedicated to the history of computing. He served on the Advisory Panel of the Institute of Computer Services of the National Bureau of Standards. By appointment of the mayor, he served on the LA City Economic Advisory Panel. Throughout his career, he served on various corporate boards, published many papers on management and technical subjects and addressed numerous groups all over the world. Walter's passion for business, transformed into his personal life with Donna, filled with favorite diversions and interests. Together they enjoyed countless hours with friends and family on the tennis court, biking trip vacations in beautiful destinations and frequent games of bridge. After their first visit to Aspen with friends, Walter and Donna purchased a mountain home. He cherished the summers filled with classical festival musical, full days on hiking trails and long rides on his mountain bike. Walter and Donna would spend limitless hours cross country skiing and snowshoeing. He most treasured the summer and winter vacations with his family and moments on the ski slopes with his grandchildren. Walter enjoyed a long life surrounded by Donna, sons Thomas, Randall and John, their spouses Margaret, Deborah and Dennis, and his grandchildren Christopher, Alyssa, Stephanie, Emily, Anna and Harrison, Paul, Valerie and great grandson, Lucca. Memorial Celebration will be held Sunday, March 1st, 12 pm at the Bauer Home.